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Jimmy Butler wasn’t surprised by the boos from Minnesota Timberwolves fans in the home opener, and he seems to believe he hasn’t heard the last of them.
Those boos eventually turned to MVP chants, though, as Butler was fantastic with 33 points on 10-of-12 shooting, in lifting the Timberwolves to a 131-123 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I knew it was going to happen,” Butler told reporters. “I knew they were going to switch up on me. It’s part of it. I think there’s probably some more boos to come one of these days.”
That last sentence is a strong indication Butler expects his trade request of more than a month ago to be honored. Either that, or he’s implying he’ll leave when free agency arrives over the summer.
The Timberwolves are aiming for the former — as team owner Glen Taylor recently told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that the Timberwolves “need to be looking at a trade.”
But it sure doesn’t appear one is on the way anytime soon. Trade talks centered on Butler are “mostly dormant,” according to a recent report from Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Also, while the Timberwolves came close to pulling off a Butler deal with the Miami Heat a few weeks back, Heat president Pat Riley told his players that he’s “pulling the plug” on talks for now.
That means Butler will just have to carry on in agitating/thrilling Timberwolves fans while he dons the home team’s uniform. The Timberwolves’ mixed emotions, it appears, are alive and well.
“I’m telling you I love it,” Butler said. “I love it. Like I said earlier, I think people kind of love to hate me sometimes. Say what you want to say, but it really makes me smile.”
For a night, Timberwolves fans couldn’t help but smile about Butler, too.